Dealing with bullying
Participating in the creation of a theatre show, means that everyone comes together in a tight team of people. Some who are regulars, and some new to the organisation - and from a huge range of backgrounds and levels of experience.
Ensuring that the space is a safe, respectful place in which to work, is as critical as learning lines and characterisations. People may indeed disagree - indeed people may not even always like one another; but what is imperative is that people are respectful, calm, patient, and supportive of one another.
Bullying, gaslighting, aggression, intimidation, sexual impropriety, victimising someone over anything like previous training, race, health/disability, other committments, gender, religion or anything else, is completely unacceptable in any situation.
Sadly in the industry anyone, whether actor, crew, director, producer, or admin, can be targetted, when somone decides to act in a bullying manner, and it should be remembered that such targetting can not only destroy a production, but also the health, and even the life of the person being targetted.
It can be extremely frightening (in fact it usually is literally incapacitating terror in my experience) to speak out, but little can be done, if we do not know, and if action is not taken, it will only continue and become worse. Regardless of who or what is causing distress, it is critical to speak out.
If an incident of bullying or victimisation takes place in our company, please in the first instance, email us on email@example.com, along with any evidence you may have. Please rest assured that you will be listened to seriously, and the matter looked into, with action taken if needed. If we are unsure what to do, we may take external advice from Equity, or other organisations.
If for any reason you feel unable to do that, we would urge you to contact Equity, the actors trade union, directly; you can find more information on their website HERE
You may also find suppport and advice via the following help sites:
Dealing with mental health concerns
Mental health is also enormously important. Actors and entertainment creatives, as a demographic, are disproportionally affected by poor mental health, up to and including suicide.
We all react differently; there is no-one size-fits-all for help, but often it can be needed.
Therefore, it seems appropriate to list a number of resources for assisting mental health. I do hope that these help.
For Torbay-based people, the NHS MENTAL HEATH CRSIS LINE is 0300 456 4876, available overnight every day, and 24/hours on bank holidays. They will share details that you tell them with your GP. I have found them very helpful, especially when you feel you will need medical assistance.
SHOUT This is a free 24/7 text service for people experiencing a mental health breakdown. Text "Help" to 85258. All texts are free and confidential. This line is brilliant and has seriously saved my life several times.
The THEATRE HELPLINE provides free mental health support and advice via phone or email, to people working in theatre 24/7.
ARTSMINDS is a website providing advice and support for a number of issues that may cause someone working in the creative industries poor mental health.
PLAYING SANE is a signposting website full of useful information
WOMEN WITH AUTISM/ ASPERGERS UK SUPPORT GROUP Additionally for female-identifying autistic people like myself, a safe and supportive facebook group for discussion issues or questions relating to your autism and wellbeing.
Creating a safe space in theatre
About this blog:
This a blog about what it is like, behind the scenes, to admin and promote, and grow, an arts organization. This is an area for the musings, research, discussions, and posts which have public value, but which are not compatible with a general "news" page.